Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Science

Degree Discipline

Physical Education


There has always been a baffling mystery as to why certain times individual athletes fail to perform up to their apparent standard of ability. Since all muscular activity is concerned with chemical reactions, certainly the field of chemistry should be able to throw some light on these fluctuations.

The Physical Education field has been concerned with tone and physical growth of muscles; however, little thought and consideration have been given to blood chemistry in relation to exercise. The chemical composition of the blood has many vital relations to muscular construction and relaxation; e.g., calcium contracts muscle cells, and potassium relaxes them.

One of the most important chemical considerations is the acid-base balance of the blood. (1) While the blood is always alkaline, there is a wide fluctuation in the quantitative amount of what is termed the "alkali reserve." A depleted alkali reserve is inappropriately a condition of "acidosis" which might imply that the blood is really acid in reaction. The blood never becomes acid because the human organism is equipped with an efficient buffer system that prevents this condition from taking place. This vital mechanism is provided to maintain life. Though life may be preserved on a low alkali intake, the human organism may fall short of muscular efficiency.

This paper deals with the study of the alkaline reserve in relation to the athlete in performance. The study was conducted with the members of the football team at Pickard High School, Brenham, Texas during the 1963-61j. fall term. The objective was to try to determine the influence that acid or alkali reserve might have on the speed and endurance of athletes.

The normal condition of the blood, and, so far as we know, of the tissue generally, is very nearly neutral. Neither a distinctly acid nor a strongly alkaline condition or of the system generally is compatible with health or even with life. The maintenance of this condition of approximately neutrality is what one usually has in mind when one speaks of the problem or the phenomena of acid-base balance in the body.

To balance the (fixed) "acid-forming" elements (sulfur, phosphorus, and chlorine) the food furnishes significant (though quite variable) amounts of four "base-forming" elements: sodium, potassium, calcium, and magnesium. In normal nutrition, the "problem" of acid-base balance is chiefly that of elimination of surplus fixed acid, especially that formed from oxidation of the sulfur of the food protein. This surplus fixed acid is taken care of chiefly in two ways: (1) by elimination of nitrogen as ammonium salt as just explained; and (2) by the secretion of a more acid urine, which usually means a large proportion of acid phosphate in the urine. In case the surplus of fixed acid is small or transient, a shifting of the proportions between mono (primary) and di-(secondary) phosphate may suffice; but beyond this, the increased excretion of primary phosphate may involve increased excretion of total phosphate necessarily carrying with it some fixed base and thus tending to deplete the body's alkaline reserve.

Committee Chair/Advisor

C. A. Wood

Committee Member

0. P. Schoenvogel


Prairie View Agricultural And Mechanical College


© 2021 Prairie View A & M University

Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 4.0 International License.

Date of Digitization


Contributing Institution

John B Coleman Library

City of Publication

Prairie View





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